CIP3--A Giant and the Consortium
Heidelberg believes in flexible RIP technologies—processors that support the much-touted RIP Once, Output Many (ROOM) concept, fostered strongly by the Heidelberg Prepress segment for some time.
At present, Delta Technology's recognition as a GATF InterTech Award winner—as the RIP that will have the greatest impact—is delivering on its ROOM promise, offering raster or PostScript workflows.
The Delta Force
Heidelberg Prepress (first joining the CIP3 consortium as Linotype-Hell) concentrates its CIP3 work around the Delta RIP, running CIP3's PPF. As part of the Delta post-interpreted workflow, Heidelberg Prepress creates a CIP3 file form with the same file that created the plate—which guarantees the exact same results as the plate by avoiding an additional PostScript interpretation. PressGate is a Delta module that runs on any Delta workstation, creating the CIP3 file from the DeltaList of the imposed signature.
On the press side, the Heidelberg CPC32 program reads the CIP3 file created by PressGate and creates the resulting ink zone settings. This data can then be transferred to a flash memory card and inserted in the CPTronic console or transferred directly to the color console by the Ethernet network.
PressGate and CPC32 are currently in beta test and, in some cases, full implementation at commercial printing sites in England, Germany and the United States.
For example, Scholin Brothers Printing, a $13 million, Webster Groves, MO-based operation, is teaming Scitex and Heidelberg CIP3 technologies. At Scholin, Todd Wellman serves as director of technology and research for electronic prepress. Wellman is, himself, a vital link in integrating a digital workflow via CIP3.
"CIP3 is not going to make a poor pressman a master pressman, but it will automate several steps of the print production process, enabling faster, more controlled productivity," he asserts, noting that Scholin's implementation of CIP3 wasn't without its wrinkles. "Implementation is certainly the toughest part, but when you factor in that ink estimation is so exact and that press performance is heightened, you determine it's well worth it."